AB 1945 – Defines “First Responder” For Purposes Of The California Emergency Services Act

CATEGORY: Client Update for Public Agencies, Fire Watch, Law Enforcement Briefing Room, Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education, Public Employers, Public Safety
DATE: Oct 26, 2020

AB 1945 amends the California Emergency Services Act (CESA) to add a formal definition of “first responder” for purposes of this law and includes public safety dispatchers and telecommunicators in that definition. AB 1945 provides that for purposes of the CESA, a “first responder” is any employee of a state or local public agency who provides emergency response services, including any peace officer, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, public safety dispatcher, or public safety telecommunicator.

However, the application of this definition of “first responder” is limited only in application to CESA.  The bill expressly specifies that the designation of these professions as “first responders” does not by itself confer any rights to public safety retirement benefits.  In a similar fashion, AB 1945 does not modify workers’ compensation benefits for safety employees (e.g., Labor Code Section 4850), nor does it impact federal wage and hour laws (e.g., FLSA) for safety employees.

(AB 1945 adds Section 8562 to the Government Code.)